Top 3 cybersecurity threats and how to combat them
Cybersecurity threats to small businesses are increasing at an alarming rate. A recent study found 54% of small businesses reported experiencing Cybersecurity attacks throughout the last year. This could be due to less stringent technological defences, less awareness of threats and less time and resources to put into cyber security.
For this reason, small businesses need to be more aware of the threats and how to stop them than ever before no need to worry, this blog will cover the top 3 security threats facing businesses, and how your organization can protect itself against them.
#1. Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks account for a staggering 90% of all breaches within organizations, with a 65% increase over the past year alone. This is when malicious actors impersonate trusted contacts, luring unsuspected users into clicking malicious links, downloading harmful files, or disclosing sensitive information, account details or credentials. These types of attacks are more sophisticated than ever before making it crucial for small businesses to be aware of how to combat them.
How to avoid it…
Employee Education: Provide comprehensive training to all employees about phishing attacks, including how to identify suspicious emails, links, and attachments. Regularly reinforce the importance of vigilance and caution when interacting with emails or websites.
Strong Password Policies: Encourage employees to use strong, unique passwords for all their accounts. Implement password policies that require regular password changes and the use of complex combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): For enhanced security, it is recommended to activate multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all essential systems and accounts. MFA adds an additional layer of protection by demanding users to provide supplementary authentication factors, such as a unique code sent to their mobile device, alongside their password.
Robust Spam Filters: Implement and maintain reliable spam filters for your email system. These filters can help identify and block suspicious emails before they reach employees’ inboxes.
Phishing Simulations: Conduct periodic phishing simulations within your organization to assess employees’ susceptibility to phishing attacks. Use the results to provide targeted training and address any vulnerabilities.
#2 Malware Attacks
Malware attacks are the second biggest threat small businesses face encompassing various cyber threats like trojans and viruses. It refers to malicious code created by hackers to gain unauthorized access, steal or destroy data. Malware often originates from downloads on malicious website, spam emails, or connecting infected machines or devices.
How to avoid it…
Security Software: Install reputable antivirus, anti-malware, and firewall software on all company devices. Keep these security tools updated with the latest patches and definitions to ensure they can effectively detect and block malware threats.
Secure Network: Implement strong network security measures, including robust firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and network segmentation. Restrict access to sensitive information and regularly monitor network traffic for any signs of malicious activity.
Secure Email Practices: Implement email security measures such as spam filters, email authentication (e.g., Sender Policy Framework – SPF, DomainKeys Identified Mail – DKIM), and email encryption. Encourage employees to exercise caution with email attachments and links, even if they appear to be from known senders.
Regular Data Backup: Implement a regular backup strategy for critical data and ensure that backups are stored securely. Regularly test the restoration process to ensure backups are functional and accessible in the event of a malware attack.
Mobile Device Security: Establish a mobile device policy that includes security measures such as passcode locks, remote wipe capabilities, and the installation of reputable security apps. Encrypt sensitive data stored on mobile devices and educate employees about the risks of downloading apps from unofficial sources.
See our other article on how to avoid malware attacks here
#3 Ransomware attacks
Small businesses are especially at risk from ransomware attacks with reports showing a worrying 75% of these types of attacks target small businesses following a recent survey by AAG-IT. These attacks have grown increasingly common due to their lucrative nature. Ransomware involves encrypting company data, causing it to be inaccessible, and extorting a ransom for its release. Businesses are left with a difficult decision: pay the ransom and risk significant financial losses or suffer service disruption due to data loss.
How to avoid it…
Regular Backup and Recovery:
To prevent ransomware attacks, it is crucial to establish a consistent backup strategy for vital data and guarantee the secure storage of backups. Regularly conducting tests on the restoration process is important to verify the functionality and accessibility of backups in case of a ransomware incident.
Web Filtering: Utilize web filtering solutions to block access to known malicious websites and prevent employees from inadvertently visiting them. Web filtering can also restrict access to non-work-related websites that may host ransomware or other malware.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enable MFA for all critical systems and accounts. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide additional authentication factors, such as a unique code sent to their mobile device, in addition to their password.
Regular Security Audits: Conduct regular security audits and vulnerability assessments to identify potential weaknesses in your systems and infrastructure. Address any vulnerabilities promptly and follow security best practices.
Incident Response Plan: Develop an incident response plan that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of a ransomware attack. Establish clear procedures for reporting incidents, containing threats, and recovering affected systems.
We have created a cybersecurity checklist for SME’s to help businesses reduce the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime. Download Cyber Security Checklist
Preventing cybersecurity threats can be daunting for a business owner. At CNS IT Ltd We provide managed IT solutions and support to small and medium sized organisations across North Wales, Cheshire and Wirral to eliminate the worry. Get in touch today to find out more.